No. 3 – Gary Zimmerman, Left Tackle (1986)
Out of a 1984 Supplemental draft of Canadian and semi-pro American football players, offensive lineman stalwart Gary Zimmerman was selected by the Giants and later obtained by the Vikings. And, he was damn good right away.
Admittedly, offensive lineman statistics are nearly impossible to find from the 1980s. But pro-football-reference.com does a commendable job assigning every player a ranking from each NFL season. In 1986, Gary Zimmerman was scored at an 11. For perspective, current Vikings right tackle Brian O’Neill registered a score of nine in 2019.
The 1986 Vikings were near the middle of the road for rushing yards and about the same for sacks allowed. The team was one year away from drafting Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel. They then paired him with Zimmerman, and instantly the team was set at offensive line for the next seven seasons.
Zimmerman was traded to the Denver Broncos in 1993 where he would help the franchise win its very first Super Bowl in 1997. He retired immediately following the Super Bowl win. His teammate John Elway did the same after the 1998 season when Denver repeated as champions.